Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Cure for the Twilight Blues

Today "Twilight 3" comes out.  Oh wait, it isn't "Twilight 3", its "The Twilight Saga*:  Eclipse", right?  You can always tell what kinds of franchises takes themselves way too seriously, just look at the names.  Seriously, try to name a franchise that added the word "Saga" to its name?  Imagine if "James Bond" decided that the next movie should be "The James Bond Saga:  Yesterday Never Lived". Its like demanding that your little split-level house should be called a "manor".  Nothing kills my enthusiasm more than this "Saga" business.

So, I'm not going to see "Twilight 3".  I already said all I needed to say back in my "New Moon" review, which made the best of things by simply not having Edward and Bella interact together.  Do I need to suffer through more of this mutually self-destructive hateful story?  "Twilight 3" has as much chance of being decent as a Limp Bizkit and Michael Bolton duet album with all lyrics in Middle High German.  Even if I were a semi-professional critic whose opinions were trusted, I still wouldn't see this movie - I could go the Armond White route and recycle my "New Moon" review without ever even buying a ticket.  But maybe I just have more self-respect than others.

But I know some of you right now are suffering from the Twilight Blues.  The Twilight Blues is the latest entry to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) with symptoms of depression, suicidal tendencies, and hallucinations of a phantom Jedi Edward all caused by watching a "Twilight" movie without RiffTrax.  There are only two cures:  the endless peace of the grave, and watching a decent vampire flick.  But which one?  Honestly, there are more great vampire works out there than I can count on one hand.  However, there is one cure well above the others that has a 100% guaranteed success rate:  "Hellsing".

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Remember how I mentioned that I judge movies by their title?  "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" is one of those titles that excite me like no other.  Let's break it down:  you have a completely made-up word "Imaginarium", probably meaning "a location filled with imagination".  Who owns the Imaginarium?  Why, Doctor Parnassus does, who just so happens to be named after Mt. Parnassus, the home of the Muses in Greek Mythology.  I haven't heard a title that offers so much wonder and fantastical imagery since "Alice in Wonderland"*.  And then, above all this, its directed by "Monty Python" alumnus, Terry Gilliam, a man who always - even on his worst days - makes visually impressive movies.   Gilliam will take you to places that no other movie has ever even come close to before.  He's better than drugs.

 ...Also the movie just so happens to be that movie Health Ledger was making when he died tragically of a drug overdose in 2008.  There's kinda that too.

Let's start out with the plot.  If you're wondering exactly how your personal sensibilities will take this movie, you should probably have a clue what its about.  (Deep Breath)  Doctor Parnassus is a former monk turned-immortal thanks to his many bets with his good friend/rival the Devil.  However, thanks to one bet too many, Parnassus now has to give up his beautiful daughter, Valentina on her sixteenth birthday.  But there's a way out!  If the good Doctor can find five souls for the Devil, his daughter will be free.  The way you steal souls is to shove them into his magic mirror, the Imaginarium, which is literary a window into Parnassus's mind where anything can and does happen.  However, there's a another problem, the Doctor has fallen on a bit of hard times.  He's left wandering the streets of London in his run-down beaten carny show, and is dead broke.  Lucky thing that the Doctor's troop saved a mysterious man (Health Ledger) from hanging.  The hanging man has amnesia, a lucky flute, and an inexplicable power to entice the crowds.  Things get weirder from there.  Also in the cast is Anton, a young man in love with Valentina and rival to Health Ledger, and a midget.  Why a midget?  Why not.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I, Sisyphus

I bought "Okami" for the most innocent of reasons.  All I wanted was a simple Zelda-like game to keep me going for what was certainly going to be a long wait until "Skyward Sword" came out*.  For a time, indeed, I got exactly what I wanted.  Its Zelda where you play a wolf... all the time - and also that wolf is a Sun-Goddess named Ammy.  There's a time where you shrink down to "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" size and are playing "Minish Cap", there's a scene where you wander an ocean like "Wind Waker", and you even go back in time towards the end like just about thirty-three Zelda games.  Being like Zelda is not something a game should ever be criticized for.  If I say a game is "like Zelda", I'm giving the highest praise - just like if I mention that a storyline "feels like the Original Star Wars", I don't give compliments much more hyperbolic than that.  So for awhile, I was defeating bosses in dungeons, restoring trees, and saving big-breasted maidens, and it was great.

....Until I met the sleeping bear.  Then I fell right into the mouth of madness.  I've actually been diagnosed with radiation sickness after the horrible journey I went through.

Okami is a game where you can do virtually anything.  Exploration and sidequests are not only key to the gameplay, but they're the only way to gain EXP.  So when I first found sleeping bear standing upon the hill, I knew immediately that there was going to be a quest involved.  If only I had known what kind of quest it would be, perhaps I could still be a sane human being today.  The bear was doing something truly amazing:  he was not only sleeping while standing up, but also while balancing himself upon a very large ball.  Obviously such a bizarre sight could not simply be mere flavoring to the game's environment, there had to be a way to get this bear to wake up.  Using impressive Holmes-like powers of deduction based upon years of playing video games, I immediately focused upon the giant ball.  Perhaps there was another one in this area that the bear would like more?  And then, just to prove my point, Issun, the game's resistant Navi, gave me a dead obvious hint about balls mere seconds after I figured out the puzzle.  Like all Navis, Issun never shuts up.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Star Wars Prequels Remake

These days the world of cinema is beset with a seemingly endless run of terrible remakes of movies I love.  You take a perfectly fine movie, beloved by its audience and often considered to be a brilliant classic.  Then you try to make the same movie again, only with a different director, script, cast, and purpose.  And what do you get?  Garbage.  Let's review for the last five years or so:  "Charlie and Chocolate Factory", "Day of the Dead", "Halloween", "The Hitcher", "Nightmare on Elm Street", and "The Omen".  I had to list this in alphabetical order because I could never actually figure out which one I hated more.  And there are so many other mediocre remakes out there - or attempted to be out there.  Every week you hear about another movie being remade like "Friday the 13th" which either result in years of the production struggling in Development Hell, or in an equally worthless result:  a horrible forgettable movie being made that nobody can remember in ten years.  Remember when "Planet of the Apes" was remade back in 2001?  Neither do I.

The sad fact is that Hollywood does not understand the point of a remake.  You don't remake a movie because you want to repeat the success of a previous movie.  The end result is either awful or so incredibly uninspired that your remake has no audience.  No fan of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" wants to sit through two hours of Tim Burton getting every single detail so horribly wrong.  I'm not saying there's some kind of inherent magic to filmmaking that cannot be replicated:  "Dawn of the Dead"'s remake was just as good as the original - keeping almost all of the original's inherent magic*.  But the true purpose of the remake is to find a movie that originally... well, failed.  Take "The Fly".  Originally it was a goofy B-movie starring Vincent Price that really did not bother explore what was truly the most horrible accepts of its plot line.  Then in the 80s, David Cronenberg takes this not-so-good movie and turns into one of the most horrifying movies ever put before camera**.  The things that happen to Jeff Goldblum in that movie... My God.  Remakes can not only be good movies, but they can be great movies.

Which leads me to my point (I knew I'd get to it eventually).  Its about time somebody remade the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


 If you ever watch a cable news program, or read a newspaper, or listen to talk radio, you'll probably notice that quite a lot of these commentators are more than a little hung-up on polls.  There isn't an issue out there, no matter how complicated, that can't be examined through the popular opinions of the American people.  By this point, polls have become such dug-in features of American political discussion that they long since passed the point of cliché something like fifteen years ago.  "Calvin & Hobbes" had a running joke where first grader Calvin would complain about his parents' rules through the use of a phantom figures that supposedly would show the failure of his parents' administration:  95% of six-year-olds polled wanted later bedtimes, and if Dad wanted to win the next election he better give them what they wanted.  You know, because obviously six-year-olds know best.

I suppose there's some kind of inherent logic to polls in our society.  This nation is built upon the principles of the Consent of the Governed.  The mechanism of elections is what supposedly allows the people to give their choice behind their preferred method of governance.  Of course, the Founding Fathers knew that people could never govern themselves, which is why we have a government in the first place.  But they were a little more conservative than that:  they actively designed the Constitution to give repeated layers of government between the fleeting popular opinion of the moment and actual direct control of governmental actions by those said opinions.  So, we have an Electoral College instead of direct elections.  We also have solid terms.  A President can do whatever he wants in the face of popular opinion (as long as its not illegal) and his job will be safe - for four years at least.  Since the Founding Fathers imagined the Senate to be the strongest part of the government, it has a six-year term and originally was not elected at all.  Senators were appointed by state legislatures until the Seventeenth Amendment changed all that.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Toy Story 3

"Toy Story" is easily one of the most beloved children's films of all time - and for good reason.  It was the very first fully computer-animated movie ever made, but not only that, started off Pixar's long and glorious tradition of brilliant family entertainment.  This is where it all began folks:  before "WALL-E", before "The Incredibles", before "Finding Nemo", there was little ol' "Toy Story".  And now we have the second, and probably last sequel is in theatres.  Is it worth a view?  Of course!  Its Pixar, naturally!  This is not just some pathetic last dying gasp of a series whoring itself out desperately for a few more lousy dollars, rather this is a touching finale:  a final goodbye to old computer generated plastic friends who much move on to the next part of a toy's life - hand-me-down town.

At the time the movie came out, I was just four-years-old, and like every single four-year-old, I had a room filled with roughly 300,000 cubic meters of toys.  When it came to VHS, I occasionally dug out of the huge mountain of toys that was my home and went to the living room TV to put it on an endless cycle of repeats along with various other movies like "Independence Day", and "The Lion King".  Eventualy I had to go to school, and living in a nest of various Some-Assembly-Required plastic Made-In-Taiwan entertainment devices became much too combersome for my daily commute, so a good deal of the toys were slowly filtered away.  Some broke and were thrown out, some were too loud and gave my Mom a headache and so were put up on a big shelf where I couldn't reach, and others were simply forgotten, lost forever.  "Toy Story 2" came out, and for some reason (I don't remember what) I didn't like it.   No matter though, my life continued as it always did.  Through late grammar school, what few toys that had survived now found themselves new rivals:  video games, human friends, and television.  The competition did not last long.  Many found themselves either thrown away, or stuffed into a purple plastic tub, gathering dust and being slowly covered with various bits of trash.  Finally, as I began to pack away for college, the question came up:  what do I do with these old toys*?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


If any of you have ever watched "New Moon" in the vicinity of any member of the female gender, you probably can guess what kind of noise I made when I saw this.  If you need a more specific approximation of the noise that came out of my mouth, grab a girl - any girl, no matter what age - and sit her down at the scene where Jacob the Werewolf takes his shirt off the first time.  That's the noise I made when Nintendo announced "THE LEGEND OF ZELDA:  SKYWARD SWORD".  Then I made that noise that 13-year-old girls make when the Jonas Brothers start the concert.  And then I made the noise that every heterosexual male makes when inside a strip club.  I'm so happy I could cry.... again.  I have become those three girls at Hyrule Town from "Twilight Princess".

I know there were other things at E3, some of which might have gotten me very excited before.  There was a "Metroid", there was "Castlevania:  Lords of Shadow", and a sequel to "Portal" (which I never played, oddly).  But none of it meant anything.  "Kid Icarus" for the 3DS?  Snore.  The 3DS itself?  Who cares?  "Kingdom Hearts" with Leonard Nimoy??  BORING.  You know why?  Because there's a new Zelda coming!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Winter is Coming

You better prepare for it.  Oh, you might think that its only mid-June and technically Summer hasn't even started, but you're wrong.  Because Winter is Coming.  "But, Blue", you might say, "things are pretty bad now:  Obama can't fix the oil spill, Korea is about to erupt into war, and "Marmaduke" is somehow still in theatres, killing millions each day."  Well, I laugh at your petty grievances.  They're nothing compared to the coming chill.  Remember what killed the dinosaurs.  Winter is coming.  Buy a sweater.

In 2011 HBO will release their next (most likely great) series:  "A Game of Thrones".  Now to some of you, the series may just be a fantasy TV show -  a high budget "Xena" perhaps.  However, for me, when I saw that promo before the season premiere of "True Blood"*, I had only one reaction.  Just one word.  "YESSSSS!!!!!"  I screamed it out towards the heavens, a clear affirmation of my unlimited joy and excitement.  You know that scene in "Revenge of the Sith" where Darth Vader awakes and yells upon hearing of his wife's inexplicable death?  My emotion was in essence the exact opposite of that.  I could only be happier if one of the many actresses I propose to on this blog were exactly to accept my marriage offer.

I love "The Song of Ice and Fire" - the epic dark fantasy series by George R. R. Martin.  They're some of the best books I've ever read.  And a series based on it can only be just about the most awesome thing well... ever.  They're that good.  But here's the thing:  you really shouldn't read these books.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Layout (Again)

I hate to constantly be changing the layout of the blog every few months, but alas, I wanted to play with Blogger's new Blog Template editor.  From day one I've been annoyed by how thin the blog was - on just about every single resolution massive amounts of space is wasted.  So I needed to shift to a whole new design in order to increase blog width, and more important:  post width.  The posts were so thin and claustrophobic that it was driving me quite simply insane.  You can't squeeze an idea down into just 400px, it needs space to fill out and breath.  The thin post width also repeatedly forced me to use smaller versions of than what I wanted.

But otherwise we're (and by "we", I mean "me") are exactly the same here at Planet Blue.  The layout might change a bit later on in the week, but I'm making a solemn promise to not change the blog layout again for another two years.  If I let myself go, I could spend days constantly fiddling with the design.  So let's try to avoid that.

I'm always glad for your readership and other vague forms of support.  Thanks!  You guys might not be Space Monkees anymore, but you're still a great audience.

How to Make a SciFi Original Movie

At the moment I currently have my lap top pulled up in front of an easy chair, a bowl of popcorn in my lap, and another gem made by the creative geniuses at the SciFi SyFy* Network:  "High Plains Invaders".  Now for those not keeping up with their studies of old American Westerns, the name "High Plains Invaders" might mean absolutely nothing to you.  But to me, its a brilliant pun made off of the 70s movie, "High Plains Drifter".  Where "Drifter" had Satanic parallels and deep symbolism, "Invaders" had robot aliens attacking and rock farms.  "Drifter" had beautiful scenes of America's sun-scorched Southwest, where "Invaders" has the dreary grey mud that can only be Romania.  And where "Drifter" had the brilliant anti-villain stylings of Clint Eastwood, "Invaders" had the guy who played Piccolo in the live-action adaptation of "Dragonball Z".  So all in all, I think SciFi has created a far superior movie here**.

You've probably never seen a SciFi Original Movie before.  And that's a word in your favor.  Nobody on Earth can possibly be so stupid as to watch these things unironically.  If you're committed to the religion of irony, you've probably seen every single SciFi Original already, and so know exactly what to expect:  cheesy effects, bad acting, bad scripts, bad directing, bad locations, and well... bad everything.  Actually every sucks about these movies, which is what makes them so perfect for our ironic tastebuds.  Nothing is more ironic than enjoying something that can be patently proven to be absolutely terrible in every single way, right:?  Oh no, you can take one ironic step farther than that!  You can make a horrible SciFi Original Movie!  Such sweet sweet irony.

However, making a SciFi Original Movie is a complex process, involving a very large number of steps.  Well, no, its a very arbitrary number of them, which I will outline now:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Special Planet Blue News Report

To make a major motion picture, you require resources of a massive scale.  A mindboggling effort must go in.  Not only do you need to get the approval of the fickle studio, you need to cast actors, hire somebody to cast those actors, get a director, get a screenplay writer, get sound people, get special effects people, get set designers, editors, caterers, drivers, assistants, music makers, camera operators, medical staff, and millions of dollars of sophisticated equipment.  You need to find shooting locations, get approval to use those locations, and organize the logistics of an army of crew members to put the entire thing to together at said locations.  That's just to make the finished movie.  Then you have to get the approval of the same studio to release the movie, find a distribution company, create a massive advertising campaign, get the approval of movie theatres worldwide to show your picture, hire artists to make billboards, DVD covers, and McDonalds toys, and then hire editors to make television commercials.  A movie can never be a simple whim of a single man, or even just a handful of people.  Thousands of people must sacrifice millions of hours to make any film, no matter how deranged, come into being.  They all must give their consent to the project, and raise no objections.

So how in all of God's great Earth did so many people allow a movie like "Marmaduke" to be made?  How did they, being completely normal human beings of reasonable morals, not only just remain silent while this abomination was being made, but actively took a part in bringing forth this plague upon humanity?  I know the economy is bad, but just how far is a person willing to go to just make a quick buck?  Is our race truly capable of such awful acts for so worthless a reason?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: The Movie

Mediocre, adequate, forgettable, disposable, uninspired, unimpressive, etc.  I have plenty of adjectives that perfectly describe the predictably dull May Blockbusters that come along every year.  It seems to me that every year around late spring Hollywood manufactures a new crop of rehashed action films that entertain for maybe an hour, and then are rightfully completely forgotten.  For some reason, its specifically this exact season when movies reach their low ebb for the year.  Last year I struggled though such brainless movies as "X-Men Origins:  Wolverine", "Terminator Salvation", and "Star Trek", and this year now I get "Iron Man 2", and "Prince of Persia".  What will come next year?  I have no idea, but if history is any judge, I should stay well away from the theatre until mid-June at least.

So what is there to say about "Prince of Persia"?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  I'm not disappointed, I'm not pleasantly surprised, I'm not shocked, wowed, entertained, infuriated, frustrated, or excited after watching this movie.  I'm just bored.  And so is everybody else it seems, because this movie's sales are lower than what Disney wanted out of this production.  Not disastrously lower, because that would be halfway interesting.  No, just about ten million less than they wanted.  The movie will make a slight profit in the end, everybody involved will live on to make more movies, but there will be no sequel.  And that's the end of the story.  Not a bang, not even a whimper.  Just plain boring fact.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Deport America

Inside this country is a cancer.  These people are nothing less than uncivilized wretches, and despicable criminals.  They are tearing this country apart, killing its people, stealing its wealth, and corrupting its society.  In just the reported statistics* alone, you can see just how beyond terrible these criminals are.  These malcontented people have committed 2,238,480 assaults, 2,151,875 burglaries, 371,800 frauds, 16,204 murders, and 95,136 rapes.  There are more of these people in jail than in any other country on Earth, 2,019,234 in all.  They consume more illicit drugs than other group.  Just imagine how much more beautiful this country would be without any of them.

Who are these people?  None other than the American people themselves.  Which is why I think the solution to this major crime problem is quite obvious:  deport the entirety of the United States.